Nintendo is a very strange company. As we’ve previously discussed, they’re a studio that likes to do things a very particular way even when conventional wisdom says they should change their thinking. While this stubborn mindset has led to some of the company’s greatest successes, it has also contributed to their biggest mistakes.
If recent reports are to be believed, though, Nintendo’s worst mistake is yet to come.
According to Business Insider, the Nintendo Switch will not support multimedia functions at launch. What this means is that popular apps like Netflix and Hulu will not be accessible on the Switch. On top of this, the Switch will not support physical media of any kind outside of game cartridges.
On its own, this news is not necessarily a console killer. The last few Nintendo consoles have been seen by some as “secondary systems.” That means that you buy them in addition to an Xbox or PlayStation in order to play Nintendo games. While those consoles did support apps like Netflix, they were rarely people’s go-to device for such services.
The Switch is a different story. First off, if you buy a media device in 2017 that costs $300 or more, there’s a certain expectation that you’re going to be able to watch Netflix on it. Considering that there are refrigerators that run the popular app, it’s not too much of a stretch to assume that the Switch should be able to do the same.
The Switch lack of multimedia support only becomes more egregious the further you dive into the console’s features. How can this be the first Nintendo console that will charge you for online services and the first Nintendo console in years without proper multimedia support? Why would Nintendo release a console that you can take with you anywhere and not include many of the most-used apps on people’s mobile devices?
It’s such an absurd omission that it’s almost impossible to believe that it’s true. To be fair, there’s a chance it isn’t. The report specifies that the Switch will not launch with these features, but it doesn’t verify it will never receive them. Additionally, a representative from Netflix has noted that they haven’t received word regarding Switch support, “At this time.”
Even still, expanded multimedia functionality would have helped Switch owners look past the console’s meager launch offerings. Now, however, you really do have to wonder when – if ever – the Switch’s surprisingly high asking price is going to be worth it.